Jan van de (the Younger) Velde

A Château in Ruins

c. 1616
In the North, there was a long tradition of depicting landscapes. The large print Rustic Commerce is representative of sixteenth-century tradition. Although elements of the scene would be familiar to many – a simple village in the countryside – the landscape is fantastical and the perspective impossible. The artist’s interest lies in the vast sweep across the deep vista, as if he wanted to capture the immensity of the world. The title gives the landscape a subject, that of labour and commerce, and despite the vastness of nature, humanity has tamed the land and lives productively within it. Dutch printmaker Jan van de Velde’s works show another strain of the Northern landscape tradition, one which would become more important in the seventeenth century. Each of them show pleasant landscapes shaped by human industry, both in the past and the present. Although they appear to be real places, they are constructed carefully, employing many conventional elements such as the trees, which bracket one side of the composition.
A Château in Ruins
c. 1616
etching with engraving on laid paper
18 x 23.6 cm; plate: 13.6 x 19.9 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1976
Accession number

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